My bonus son’s bus arrived and left, the snow was not properly plowed and here I was trying to push his wheelchair into our van, with snow compounded through the threads of the wheels, my feet sliding. The weight of the chair fell back on me as I tried to hurriedly lock him into place and then load another little one into the backseat. I felt as if I couldn’t move fast enough.
My husband was potentially having a heart attack and I simply did not know what I would do. Those were my thoughts, as I tried to keep calm in moments of pure uncertainty.
This really sucks, I thought.
Not to mention, we are temporarily living in a hotel, as we continue to place offers on homes that have landed us heartbroken, all while trying to uphold our faith and keep our family of eight assured that our patience will be a testament to this lengthy process of continued closed doors.
Gosh, this sucks.
Annoyed because I preferred the emergency room and feeling overwhelmed, I dropped my husband off at the immediate care clinic. I sat in the car looking into the rearview mirror, three faces looking back at me and one in an infant carrier. There I sat, feeling stuck, nervous and completely fragile.
All I could do was sit and wait.
I looked over at the empty passenger seat and realized, this could go two ways and things were completely out of my hands. I couldn’t go inside with my husband due to COVID restrictions, and I had a vehicle full of kids, one being completely wheelchair dependent and nonverbal, and the most vocally able was 5.
This sucks, things are falling apart, I thought.
Letting it all fall apart was the only option I had to counter my optimism. While I felt positive that my husband would pull through this insane time, I had to surrender to the ideology of being this supermom who would seemingly hold things down.
Oftentimes as parents, letting it all fall apart can easily be seen as negligent, and for a family of my size, it sounds insane. But in some cases, it’s necessary to strip yourself of the pressure and expectations that we carry on our backs. Sometimes, the messy parts of life are simply too heavy to take another step — and letting your guard down may be your bravest act yet. Letting it all fall apart (responsibly) is the release needed to simply sit in our emotions or situation and ask for help.
I felt vulnerable and depleted. It’s all falling apart, and I had to allow it to happen, because all my supermom venom had been hijacked.
Consequently, my husband had to head to the nearest emergency room, where it was quickly confirmed he had a heart attack.
With the help of friends, preparations were made for alternate caregivers for my older children, leaving me to care for our 9-month-old and our dog. I sat in bed that night and allowed myself to feel. It was an opportunity that I don’t get often, and to no surprise, this is the sentiment of many parents.
Balancing optimism in moments when life throws you curve balls is such a complex paradox. In my amateur motherhood days, I would engage in the burnout culture, trying to hold everything together while the seams of a situation are literally exposed. As I’ve matured, I learned to allow things to happen, let them fall apart. While the dishes may not be done, the beds not made, dinner consists of Ramen, and the laundry runneth over, peace in the midst of the storm is a necessity.
It is during those times that clarity presents itself in ways you may have never experienced, because we are laser focused on how we want to show up in the face of adversity.
My husband is healing and home. Although the children will have a week of schooling to catch up on, I was able to maintain some calm and optimism in a situation that literally flipped me on my head. Although it sincerely pained me to disburse my children to others, it was what I needed because I knew I would fall apart trying to hold it together.
Sometimes in parenting, we face situations that suck, making us feel breathless.
As a parent of six children, one with complex special needs, there are many of these moments. When they present themselves, we have to figure out how to simply make things happen, leaving our own feelings hidden for a moment until we can release them on the bathroom floor. Nevertheless, when we let it all fall apart, we welcome help, relinquishing the idea that we have to always have it together.
Always remember, you can rebuild, day by day, tear by tear and brick by brick.
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